Heathens

I was raised Catholic. Very Catholic. Now I’d call myself “Agnostic.” I think that can often be shorthand for “I don’t really think about it much.” That is not what I mean. I think about religion and spirituality often. And I just don’t know. I don’t really want to get into the intricacies of my relationship with faith, but suffice to say that I allow for the possibility of a deity, though I suspect there isn’t one, and I definitely don’t…believe. While I thought my parents knew this, they apparently didn’t (or chose to ignore it) but it came up a few months ago and I stated my position pretty clearly.

My response to my mom’s email 2 days ago telling me she’s been crying and losing sleep for months over my lack of faith, worrying that she won’t see me in heaven:

“No, I don’t mind you sharing what’s on your mind. I’m sorry I can’t put it more at ease. I think the world can be an amazing and wonderful place, but no, I do not necessarily see a divine hand in that. I respect your right to your beliefs, but they aren’t mine, and haven’t been for quite some time. I’m sorry to have sprung that on your at Christmas. I thought you knew. Could that change in the future? Maybe. I don’t want to give you the idea that this is a phase that will surely pass, but I’m not so arrogant to think that my beliefs couldn’t change over time. I don’t think it’s likely, but I suppose it’s possible.

I lead a moral life. I try to stand up for things I think are right. I have an excellent foundation of right and wrong (in not small part due to my upbringing) and while I don’t always do the right thing (who does?!) I try to do the right thing more often than I do the wrong. I don’t do it because I’m afraid of hell, but because I want to live in a world of goodness, and I think that comes from people. I hope you take comfort in that, and that you believe in a god who, if it turns out he or she exists, will care more about the life I’ve lead than about the beliefs of my fallible human brain.”

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